Last Friday I attended the monthly Delray Beach Drug Task Force as one of its board members. Despite any confusion by its name, the DBDTF is a magically collaborative effort of community leaders, stakeholders, law enforcement, treatment and housing providers, and otherwise involved citizens, who want to ensure that those who identify themselves as being a part of the Recovery Community have a safe place in Delray Beach and the greater South Florida area within which to succeed.
Led by the unstoppable Suzanne Spencer, the Task Force has recently been discovered by other municipalities across the country who want to know how “we” did it, and if, and how, it can be replicated.
One thing that is certain is that without the support of the local elected officials, such an effort is an uphill battle.
Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein has shown and continues to show how a full understanding of all of the issues relating to recovery is necessary in order to ensure that no person who comes to any city seeking sobriety finds him or herself the victim of an unscrupulous provider.
Mayor Glickstein’s sharp focus on the real issues comes in part as the result of the deep knowledge, experience, dedication and passion of Delray Beach Housing Inspector Marc Woods, who has worked with the local community leaders to begin to eliminate the unwanted byproduct of poorly-run recovery residences.
In that regard, I also want to recognize a very special person. Terrill Pyburn, Esq., who had been the Assistant City Attorney for Delray Beach during some very trying times, and now serves as the City Attorney for the City of Coconut Creek, asked to remain in the special role of Advisor to the City of Delray Beach on issues relating the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). She understands that helping the recovery community succeed is the formula necessary to the success of entire communities and that generalized antagonism towards people in recovery is equally corrosive towards our shared American values.
Ms. Pyburn just returned from a business trip to Washington, D.C., where she spoke with elected officials and their staff on federal efforts towards eliminating the scourge of patient brokering and other insurance fraud-relating schemes which have become sadly rampant within the behavioral health care industry, at the expense of patient care.
With such people leading the way, the City of Delray Beach continues to demonstrate that acceptance, rather than mere tolerance, of our friends and neighbors (new and old) in recovery, will ultimately lead to where we all want to be – the “taking back” of our communities for the benefit of all.